Teaching Staff



–          SARAH THORNE (Owner / Director)

Miss Sarah started dancing over 27 years ago and has spent most of her life dancing, teaching dance or dreaming about a dance school!  Sarah completed her formal dance training under the guidance of Julia Macalpine in Cairns, winning a number of modern championships and completing her Adv. 1 RAD Ballet & Adv. 2 ISTD Modern & Tap exams.  Sarah has taught for the past 13 years while completing her teaching certificates in RAD Ballet and ISTD Modern and Tap.  She also taught classes in Brisbane / Gold Coast while completing her university studies.

In addition to her dance teaching qualifications, Sarah is a qualified Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor.  Before opening FNQDA, Sarah spent 6 years juggling her teaching commitments while working as a Physiotherapist at one of Cairns most well-known sporting practices, specialising in the treatment and management of dancers, gymnasts and the adolescent population.

Miss Sarah has a long history of involvement with the greater Cairns Community.  She has choreographed a number of shows for the Cairns Choral Society (and performed in even more), and leads the Cairns and District Chinese Assoc. (CADCAI) Molihua Dancers.

Passionate about children and dance, Sarah opened FNQ Dance Academy in 2012 and now dedicates her time completely to the provision of quality dance training in her beloved city of Cairns.  This is her dream and she is so thankful for the support and trust in her vision!  Bring on another fantastic year J


–          NICOLE RUIZ (Senior Teacher)

Miss Nicole commenced her dancing tuition at Dance Connection Studios in Mareeba where she completed her BDA Teachers Jazz and Tap certificates and RAD Adv. 1 Ballet exam.

In 1998 she then moved to Brisbane where she studied Bachelor of Arts (Dance) at QUT. During this time she taught at LOUD Dance studios (directed by Chelsee Hastie) in Brisbane and at Paradise Performers Academy (directed by Peta Mckenney) in the Gold Coast, choreographing for various corporate events and shows in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, as well as ‘The Lord Mayors Christmas Carols’.

In 2003 Nicole opened her own school ‘Attitude Dance Academy’ in Brisbane (which after handing over is still in operation today) and successfully directed it for 3years before returning to Cairns in 2006 to raise her young family. During her teaching years in Brisbane Nicole also taught as a guest teacher at QDSE.

On returning to Cairns Nicole taught at Dance Connection Studios in Mareeba for a further 7 years where she pursued her passion for contemporary dance. Studying the CSTD Jason Winters Contemporary syllabus, Nicole is now also a CSTD registered teacher in addition to currently completing she further qualifications as an Acro-dance instructor with Acrobatique (Canadian system).

Nicole is extremely happy and excited to be a part of the FNQ Dance Academy family.


–          JOANNE JACOBS (Senior Teacher)

Miss Jo has been a full time teacher of Classical, Jazz, Modern and Tap for the past 13 years.

After completing school with her Adv. 2 Ballet Certificate (R.A.D.) along with her Teaching Certificate in Jazz and Tap (B.D.A.) Joanne went on to complete her Cert. IV of Performing Arts at Brent Street, Sydney in 2000. Joanne completed her Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies with the RAD in 2006, and followed this with her Teacher’s Certificate in Classical Ballet with the BDA.

After teaching dance in Sydney for three years, primarily at Brent Street Studios, Jo moved back home to teach at Dance Connection Studios in Mareeba, taking great pride in helping coach dancers who have gone on to dance on the international stage.

Jo managed Dance Connection Studios from 2012 until early 2014 when she went on maternity leave with her first child.

Jo joined the FNQDA family in term 4 of 2014 as the specialised Jazz choreographer for the concert, and has been part of the Senior teacher staff for Ballet & Jazz ever since. Miss Jo is looking forward to some fantastic times ahead!


–          FELICIA GORDON (Tap & Jazz Teacher)

Miss Felicia started dancing at the age of 3 in Victoria and continued to dance when she moved to Cairns at the age of 7. She has studied various styles including Ballet, Jazz and Tap.

Miss Felicia has completed her Advanced Teaching Diplomas in the F.A.T.D Syllabus of Tap and Jazz Dance with High Achievements.  More recently she has been expanding her teaching repertoire to include the ISTD tap syllabus and Glen Wood tap Syllabus.

Miss Felicia has had experience teaching Tap and Jazz Dance to various age levels since the age of 17, and 2016 marks Miss Felicia’s 5th year with FNQ Dance Academy.  A favourite of the students, Miss Felicia’s classes are always fun and funky with the right amount of serious technique!!  Felicia finds teaching very rewarding and looks forward to another great year with FNQDA.


–          SEMI NABORISI (Hip Hop Teacher)

Semi is originally from the Islands of Fiji but came to Australia as a youngster and immediately began to immerse himself into the world of Hip Hop.  From performing traditional cultural dances on the Islands, Semi quickly transitioned into the lifestyle and culture of the urban dance and music scene.

Pursuing a career in performing after finishing school, Semi toured the Sydney region with dance group ‘Definite Crew’.  He has also performed with New Zealand RnB singer “Ria’, Beat Boxer “Genesis’, X-Factor finalists ‘Fortunate’ and Hip Hop group ‘Justice Crew’.

Looking to incorporate his dance skills & communication skills with his love for passing on the passion of dance to younger children and adults, Semi has recently been running the Hip Hop program at PCYC in Cairns, and is the manager of the crew ‘Soul Predatorz’.

Semi is excited to return to Hip Hop classes at FNQ Dance Academy in 2016, and can’t wait to inspire the younger generation to chase their dreams and live their passion.


– JENNA BEALE (Ballet / Modern Teacher) 

Miss Jenna began dancing at the age of 2 in the South West of England, learning RAD Ballet along with ISTD Modern and Tap.  She travelled to London as an associate with Classical Companies and performance schools, this then led Miss Jenna to take up a scholarship for full time training in London at the age of 16 at the Urdang Academy, Covent Garden.

After graduating Miss Jenna performed in many leading musicals in the West End, as well working as a commercial dancer in music videos and films. She also worked as a backup vocalist allowing her to not only tour the UK but other Countries such as the USA and Europe. Miss Jenna has been lucky enough to work with the English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet as well as many well known choreographers internationally.

In 2006 she moved to Australia where she followed her dream to become a ballet teacher, gaining her registered teaching status with the RAD. Miss Jenna worked as a teacher in Sydney for 5 years before moving to Cairns.  Miss Jenna is looking forward to her 4th year here in FNQ and with FNQ Dance Academy when she returns from maternity leave.



–          MARTINE BAKER (Ballet & Modern Teacher)

Miss Martine started dancing at the age of 5 under the guidance and inspiration of Patsy Fry who encouraged her to pursue her passion for dance through teaching the “younger generation”.  Miss Martine has completed all levels of Ballet, Tap and Modern with her training taking her overseas.  She danced in Vienna, Monte Carlo and Milan at the tender age of 16 and was given the opportunity to broaden her knowledge by learning from some of the world’s best.

Miss Martine has given to the community more than 20 years of dancing experience including teaching and involvement with the Cairns Choral Society.  Those that have been around for a long time will remember her Ballet Championship performance of Ophelia which saw her receive 1st place and awarded Most Promising Ballet Dancer for this “outstanding” performance.

2016 brings her 5th year at FNQ Dance Academy and looks forward to sharing her love of dance with many more of our younger generation when she return from maternity leave.


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